Fisichella feels the force and claims pole

Giancarlo Fisichella was delighted with scoring Force India’s first ever pole-position ahead of the Belgium Grand Prix.

The Italian pulled off one of the shocks-of-the-season with a wonderful display around the Spa-Francorchamps circuit as Force India’s strong development plan finally came to fruition.

Despite failing to make Q3, Adrian Sutil was also fast for the Silverstone-based team despite choosing the slower soft-tyre for his final qualifying run. He will start eleventh.

Giancarlo Fisichella – 1st: This is one of my favourite circuits, I did well in the past and I was sure we would be competitive again this year. I didn’t expect to be on pole though! It feels just great, like a dream. I am so happy for myself, for the team, for the mechanics, the engineers, who have done a fantastic job. They did a great step forward for Valencia for the last race considering our budget and our resources. This morning we had a small accident when I hit a rabbit, but my engineer said it would be lucky and it was ! What a result. I am now not only looking for points, but for more. We’ve got this far we need to finish the job!

Adrian Sutil – 11th: This is an unbelievable day for the team. Congratulations to Giancarlo: it was an amazing result for him and such a good boost for the team. We’ve worked hard so the guys really deserve it. For me, it was quite a good session but I’m still a little bit disappointed as I couldn’t use the soft tyre set effectively. The hard set was much better on my car – we don’t know why but we will look into it for sure. Normally we should have been Q3 – as Giancarlo showed – but from 11th I still think points are possible. We are quite good on the long run pace, the car feels good and it was from this point of view I am quite happy.

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer: Simply an incredible result today and full credit to Giancarlo on a series of fantastic laps. We started today a little unsure of our performance, and knew we had to work on the understeer that was in the car yesterday. The engineers worked on it, tried a few things in FP3 and found the right direction. From there both drivers were much happier. For Adrian the two tyres seemed closer in performance in qualifying, and somehow he just missed out on Q3, Giancarlo concentrated on the soft tyre in Q2 and I think the track improvement came in that direction. I want to say thanks to the tunnel, the factory and to the team and hope that tomorrow we convert this qualifying result to solid points.

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and managing director: What an unbelievable result we have had here. I am so proud of Giancarlo, the team in the garage and the factory and also for the entire Indian nation. There is nothing more to say: we’ve done both ourselves and the country proud.